The pandemic has brought us to a new reality that is significantly affecting our productivity and focus. It has pushed us to isolate ourselves and continue life inside the comfort of our houses.
Suddenly, our usual routines and activities are upended, posing a challenge to everyone to remain productive amid the social restrictions. It’s as if the entire world was put to an indefinite pause yet we couldn’t just standstill.
My Two Cents On Lockdown Productivity
I’ve personally found myself in a repeating dilemma on whether to learn a new hobby, do gardening, cook new recipes, stay in bed and binge-watch Netflix series, or just give up and cry all day.
Each day in quarantine where I literally have all the time to do anything felt like unending moments of frustration in getting nothing done and wasting this very chance. And it’s only until recently that I’ve understood and accepted how that’s totally okay.
You don’t have to spend every minute focused on gig work or self-improvement. You are in no way obligated to join any class or do new activities to get through this efficiently and keep up with everybody.
However, you still owe it to yourself to at least remain healthy. You have to take care of both your mind and body. This means you have to stop laying around all day, waiting for someone to save you.
Because as bad as this may sound, you’re solely responsible for your health and well-being. You’re in charge of how you handle this pandemic. You have to adjust and try to keep things going.
So to give you a headstart, here’s a simple and effective productivity trick that anyone can do at home.
Back in the time when everyone was free to go out and enjoy our phones anywhere else besides the couch, you may not have noticed how your environment affects your activities: Your office helped you work. The gym helped you exercise. And the dining places, well, served you something to eat.
The right physical space for each activity, though usually overlooked, plays a crucial role in helping you get things done. But with the need for social distancing, you’re left to utilize your own house only. Hence, the seemingly unexplainable difficulty to focus on your daily grind and maintain productivity.
So, what you can do is to divide such limited space into different stations for different activities. Specifically, you’ll need four vital stations for sleep, exercise, enjoyment, and creation.
4 Vital Stations of Productivity
I’d like to treat this place as the most sacred station and I urge you to do the same. We’ve been told over and over again how essential sleep is to our health and well-being yet many people still take it for granted. (Don’t be like these people!)
Your bed is for sleeping only and nothing else. I know how difficult it is to keep away from your phone when you’re all comfy in your mattress but you must resist. Don’t scroll through your FB feed or watch a movie or eat (yes, I’m looking at you) in your sleeping space; you have another station for that. Respect this sanctuary and respect your ability to sleep.
Bonus Tips: If your brain won’t seem to cooperate and you can’t doze off after 30 minutes in bed, get up and go to the other stations. This is not the place for you to lie around and overthink or be frustrated about not being able to fall asleep.
Also, if you’re having trouble resetting your body clock, try to focus first on consistently waking up at the same time every day regardless of what time you sleep. Personally, it has gotten easier for me to sleep at the same time then after a few weeks of trying.
Exercise can greatly affect both your physical and mental health. So, it’s crucial to have a separate station solely for it. Find a space in your house that you can clear off. It doesn’t have to be big; just wide enough for you to do your workout activities. You don’t even need any new equipment for this.
Only cross this station’s border when you have mentally and physically decided to move your body and sweat it out.
Bonus Tips: I personally had a hard time dragging myself out of bed every day to workout. That’s until I was introduced to the beauty of yoga. So, try to switch things up and be creative with how you exercise. Perhaps you’ll soon find a physical activity you like.
If it helps, instead of thinking of exercise as a painful routine that makes you lose weight, focus on how it helps your body get stronger each day. You can always start small like doing morning stretches or a few seconds of planking, and then move forward gradually. You’ll be amazed at how your body transforms and do things you thought you would never be capable of doing.
This may become your favorite station and you’d probably never want to get out of this space. This is where all the fun things happen- a place of pleasurable leisure.
Be careful, though, to not use this space just to pass the time. It tends to become a place of monotony and bleakness if left unchecked which contradicts its sole purpose.
So every time you get in this place, make sure it’s only for entertainment and you’re doing things you truly enjoy.
Bonus Tips: You might think that binging on doing things you enjoy can do no harm but it’s not a very good idea. Excessive watching or gaming can even lead to lethargy. It’s easy to go down this rabbit hole especially when you have nothing much to do all day. Besides, are you really “having fun” when you’re doing things mindlessly?
Time will go by and you’ll run out of things to enjoy quickly without you noticing if you continue this habit. So, be mindful of the things that make you feel good or entertains you, and give your full attention to it. It’s also wise to set yourself a maximum time for recreation so you’re sure you won’t go overboard.
Finally, this station is where you fill all your remaining time. This is where you do anything you have the power to affect. Basically, it’s where all the work gets done.
You will use this place to create things with a value like your day job (if you have one) or self-improvement goals. This is the space for you to acquire new skills or learn new things, and be better on your crafts.
Bonus Tips: This is a station of focus, a place where you make things happen. And this space can bore you sometimes. If you’re too tempted to do other things apart from creating, you must leave its borders. You shouldn’t even eat in this area.
It’s better to be honest with yourself and go to the station fit for what you have in mind when you need a break. Just go back in creation when you’re fully ready. That way, you’re respecting the borders you’ve made for yourself and helping your mind recognize them.
And there you have it, the four vital stations essential to your productivity. This technique doesn’t guarantee perfection and you won’t suddenly be good at spending your time efficiently.
However, should you follow this trick, you’ll be generating a feedback loop of where you create a positive environment that will soon affect you positively as well.
Your brain can’t just magically know what to do. You have to train it what to think so you can act accordingly. And by creating these borders, you’re building an important structure that it’ll follow. So, divide your stations now and move one step towards productivity.